La eólica en EE UU – Estados Unidos instala 4.000 megavatios eólicos en los primeros seis meses de 2009

La crisis y la dificultad de acceder al crédito ha reducido las previsiones iniciales de crecimiento de la eólica en Estados Unidos en 2009, y la potencia instalada será inferior a la de 2008.

Estados Unidos, a pesar de la crisis y las restricciones financieras, instaló 2.700 megavatios en el primer trimestre de 2009 y 1.210 MW en el segundo trimestre, según la AWEA, alcanzando ya 29.400 MW eólicos.

En 2030 el 20 por ciento de la electricidad procederá de la energía eólica, y puede que incluso más, gracias a los vehículos eléctricos y los híbridos enchufables, junto al desarrollo de las redes inteligente y la V2G.

El potencial eólico de Estados Unidos es inmenso, muy superior a todo el consumo eléctrico. España empezó antes y pudo desarrollar un tejido industrial y empresarial, y es el primer inversor extranjero en energía eólica en EE UU. La presencia española en este país es importante.

Gamesa es el cuarto productor de aerogeneradores en Estados Unidos, y cuenta con una fábrica en Pennsylvania. Acciona había instalado hasta 2008 un total de 485 MW eólicos en cinco parques en propiedad en EE UU, y tiene 70 parques eólicos en distintos niveles de construcción y desarrollo en 18 estados.

Iberdrola Renovables está presente en 14 estados, con un total de 2.876 MW eólicos, el 31% del total de la empresa en el mundo y un 17% de todo lo instalado en EE UU. En 2008, instaló 1.337 MW. El 41% de toda la cartera de proyectos de la empresa eléctrica, unos 22.600 MW, están ubicados en EE UU.

Estados Unidos, a pesar de la crisis y las restricciones financieras, instaló 2.800 megavatios en los primeros tres meses 2009, según la Asociación Eólica Estadounidense (AWEA), y llegará a unos 5.000 megavatios a lo largo de 2009.

Estados Unidos ya tiene instalados 29.000 MW de potencia eólica, siendo el primer país del mundo, tras superar a España y a Alemania, pero China le pisa los talones, y no sufre las restricciones financieras de Estados Unidos.



Manufacturing slowdown seen; industry calls for strong near-term renewable energy targets to keep US in worldwide lead

Washington D.C.–The U.S. wind energy industry installed 1,210 megawatts (MW) of new power generating capacity in the second quarter, bringing the total added this year to just over 4,000 MW – an amount larger than the 2,900 MW added in the first six months of 2008, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said today in its second quarter (Q2) market report.

While the number of completed wind farm installations was solid, AWEA said it is seeing a reduced number of orders and lower level of activity in manufacturing of wind turbines and their components, a development it termed troubling in view of the fact that the U.S. industry was previously on track for much larger growth and the global wind power industry is continuing to expand.

“The numbers are in, and while they show the industry has been swimming upstream, adding some 4,000 MW over the past six months, the fact is that we could be delivering so much more,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “Our challenge now is to seize the historic opportunity before us to unleash this entrepreneurial force and build up an entire new industry here in the U.S. that will create jobs, avoid carbon, and strengthen our energy security. To achieve that, Congress and the Administration must pass a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) with strong early targets.”

During the second quarter, the U.S. wind energy industry completed a total of 1,210 MW in 10 states, enough to power the equivalent of about 350,000 homes. These new installations nudge total U.S. wind power generating capacity to 29,440 MW, according to the report. The U.S. wind power generating fleet now offsets an average of 54 million tons of carbon annually, reducing carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 2% or the equivalent of taking 9 million cars off the road.

The state posting the fastest growth in the 2nd quarter was Missouri, where wind power installations expanded by 90%.

“Missourians know that in order for us to grow our state’s economy and create the jobs of the twenty-first century, we must embrace new technology and advances like the ones presented to us through renewable wind energy,” said Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. “So I’m proud that the American Wind Energy Association’s quarterly report shows no state has capitalized on these growth opportunities more aggressively over the last three months than Missouri has. But that isn’t enough. Missouri will continue to look for ways to enhance our energy supply and independence by using common-sense and cost effective expansions of clean, renewable wind power.”

Pennsylvania and South Dakota ranked second and third in terms of growth rate in the second quarter, expanding by 28% and 21% respectively.

Additional report highlights:

The states that added new wind power generating capacity are:

Texas 454 MW
Iowa 160 MW
Missouri 146 MW
Washington 129 MW
California 120 MW
Pennsylvania 102 MW
South Dakota 50 MW
Oregon 45 MW
Minnesota 2 MW
Wyoming 2 MW

Iowa passed the 3,000-MW mark with a cumulative total of 3,043 MW installed and consolidated its position as #2, behind Texas (8,361 MW) and ahead of California (2,787 MW).

Three wind turbine and turbine component manufacturing facilities were opened, four facilities were expanding, and eight facilities were announced during the past quarter. This brings the total of opened, expanding and announced facilities up to 20 since the beginning of the year. At the same time, many existing supply chain companies have stopped hiring or have furloughed employees due to the slowdown in contracts for wind turbines. Wind turbine component manufacturing investment was one of the bright spots in the economy in 2008, with over 55 facilities added, expanded or announced that year.

“Manufacturing investment is the canary in the mine, and shows that the future of wind power in this country is very bright but still far from certain,” said Bode. “The reality is that if the nation doesn’t have a firm, long-term renewable energy policy in place, large global companies and small businesses alike will hold back on their manufacturing investment decisions or invest overseas, in countries like China that are soaring ahead. The instances where manufacturing investment is moving forward in the U.S. are in states like Kansas that have demonstrated a commitment to renewable energy and passed a renewable electricity standard. This type of commitment now needs to be made at the national level.”

The full Q2 market report is available on the AWEA Web site at

Wind power in America

ON THE back of $16 billion-worth of investment, America overtook Germany to become the world’s biggest wind-power generator last year. Wind accounted for 42% of new generating capacity, up from just 2% four years earlier. America’s blustery and lightly populated heartland states are ideal sites for turbines, so the country’s wind industry seemed poised for big things.

But this year momentum has slowed. An indication of the way the wind is blowing came in July when T. Boone Pickens, an oilman turned clean-energy entrepreneur, decided to call off plans for the world’s biggest wind farm, in Texas. His 687 giant turbines, ordered at a cost of $2 billion, are now looking for new homes.

Mr Pickens could not arrange for transmission lines to be built from his wind farm to areas where the electricity is needed. Because they dominate the landscape, big wind projects work best in places few people live. America’s “wind belt” runs from Texas up to the Dakotas. Texas and North Dakota have both been called the “Saudi Arabia of wind”. But unlike oil, wind cannot be put in a tanker and shipped. It requires expensive grid infrastructure, which in turn rests on a complex and time-consuming approval process.

The industry is hopeful that new legislation will give the Federal Energy Regulation Commission powers to speed things up (state authorities hold most sway and rules differ from place to place). But that is not the industry’s only difficulty. The credit crunch has finally caught up with it.

Wind is a capital-intensive, heavy manufacturing industry with long lead times, which is why despite everything 2008 was a record year and many installations have gone ahead in 2009. However, a big slowdown is expected soon as customers who have made downpayments on new turbines fail to get the financing needed to complete their orders.

Last year generating capacity surged by 50%. This year the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) forecasts growth of only 20%. The AWEA says that although 2,800MW of new capacity was installed in the first quarter, just 1,200MW went in during the second.

But everything is relative. The AWEA’s Liz Salerno notes that 2009 is still on track to be the industry’s second-best year ever. She adds that wind is contributing not only generating capacity, but also much-needed manufacturing jobs. Nordex, a German company that is one of the world’s biggest turbine manufacturers, recently announced a new factory in Arkansas, creating 700 jobs in an economy that is shedding them by the hundreds of thousands. GE reported dismal results for its second quarter, but GE Energy, which includes the conglomerate’s wind business, was a bright spot, with profits up by 13% to $1.8 billion. It is establishing a new research facility in Michigan, where the unemployment rate is 15%. Including GE, seven of the world’s ten biggest wind-turbine-makers have factories in America.

The Obama administration is also firmly behind the industry. On July 16th Steve Chu, the secretary of energy, announced $14m for wind research. February’s fiscal stimulus bill also provides money for new projects on the ground. Until this year, the main spur to private finance was tax credits. But when the banks crashed, they could not claim the credit, as they had no profits to claim it against. The stimulus package allows firms to convert the tax break into upfront payments. Rules for applying were clarified in early July and from next month firms can put in their bids.

The biggest boost to wind, however, would be a federal bill requiring power companies to get a fixed proportion of their electricity from renewable sources along the lines already established by 33 states. The House of Representatives has passed a bill aiming to cap carbon emissions, which includes an obligation to buy renewables, but the AWEA (unsurprisingly) thinks it too modest. The bill now goes to the Senate, though passage is far from guaranteed. Even if it does not pass in its entirety, some form of obligation remains a possibility. Wind still accounts for just under 2% of America’s electricity. Despite the lull, that proportion seems certain to keep growing.

U.S. Leads the World in Wind Energy Capacity

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced the release of DOE’s 2008 Wind Technologies Market Report, detailing $16 billion in investment in wind projects made in the U.S. in 2008 – making the U.S. the leader in annual wind energy capacity growth, as well as cumulative wind energy capacity. Along with the report, Secretary Chu announced the selection of 28 new wind energy projects for up to $13.8 million in funding – including $12.8 million in Recovery Act funds. These projects will help address market and deployment challenges including wind turbine research and testing and transmission analysis, planning, assessments.

DOE’s new report, a comprehensive overview of developments in the U.S. wind power market, found that wind power capacity increased by 8,558 megawatts (MW) in 2008. This $16 billion investment in wind projects made the U.S. the fastest-growing wind power market in the world for the fourth consecutive year. Wind power contributed 42 percent of all new U.S. electric generating capacity in 2008; for the fourth consecutive year, wind power was the second-largest new resource added to the U.S. electrical grid in nameplate capacity.

The report, which has been issued annually since 2007, analyzes a range of developments in the wind market, including trends in wind project installations, turbine size, turbine prices, wind project costs, project performance and wind power prices. The report also details trends in project financing, a key concern for the wind industry in the current economic climate, as well as trends in project ownership, public policy and the integration of wind power into the electrical grid. DOE’s report provides the wind industry, state and local policy makers, and the general public with valuable information on the state of wind power in the United States.

Some of the key findings of the report include:

• The U.S. continues to lead the world in annual capacity growth and overtook Germany to take the lead in cumulative wind capacity. For the fourth straight year, the United States led the world in wind capacity additions, capturing roughly 30 percent of the worldwide market.
• The cumulative wind capacity installed in the U.S. at the end of 2008 would, in an average year, be able to supply roughly 1.9 percent of the nation’s electricity consumption.
• Soaring demand for wind has spurred expansion of wind turbine manufacturing in the U.S. As a result of this continued expansion, the American Wind Energy Association estimates that the share of domestically manufactured wind turbine components has grown from less than 30 percent in 2005 to roughly 50 percent in 2008, and that roughly 8,400 new domestic manufacturing jobs were added in the wind sector in 2008 alone.
• Texas led all states with 7,118 MW of total wind capacity installed, followed by Iowa (2791 MW) and California (2517 MW). Seven states now have more than 1,000 MW installed, and 13 have more than 500 MW.
• Iowa and Minnesota have the highest levels of wind penetration (in-state wind generation as a percentage of all in-state generation). Seven states have wind penetration levels greater than five percent; six utilities have in excess of 10 percent wind on their systems.
• Wind power remained competitive in wholesale power markets in 2008, with average wind power prices at or below the low end of the wholesale power market price range, although upward pressure on wind power prices looks set to continue.